You all know that I am a big fan of authentic assessments, and I always have been. I do, however, believe that there is a time and a place for testing. I was never a fan of the <a href="http://www.homeschoolinflorida.com/ah-fcat-time-again/">FCAT</a>, and that is not a surprise to any of my peeps who have read my blog for a while. Nationally normed tests are more valid than state standardized tests, and when people ask my opinions about which test to use, I always suggest the California Achievement Test (CAT).
For the last two years I have had my girls take the (CAT). It came free with the curriculum we used two years ago, which is the reason we used it then, and I thought, what the heck, it might be good practice for them, and it can't hurt to know how they stand nationally. I was pleasantly surprised at the results, not only of the academic results, but of the ease of use and the attitude my girls had toward taking it.
Since I enjoyed seeing how much my girls grew academically last year, I went ahead and had my girls take the test again this year. Only this time, I had the girls take an online version of the CAT through Academic Excellence this year.
What I liked most, was that my girls did not worry about the test itself. I have some perfectionistic children, who often worry about their performance. They didn't worry about the test this time, because Academic Excellnce offers both a timed option or an untimed option for testing. The test does not have to be done in one sitting either. In fact, we took 3 days to take ours. The online format is super easy to navigate and we had our results within less than 24 hours!
There was one glitch on our part. My youngest daughter had forgotten to finalize one portion of her math section, and I had to email customer support. They emailed me back within the hour and the customer service person was able to finalize that portion without my daughter having to re-take that section. I was thrilled!
Sometimes I will do portfolio evaluations with clients who also like to know how their kids are doing compared to their peers. I always suggest that they have their kids take the CAT. From now on, I will refer all of my clients to Academic Excellence for their testing.